THE Queen was today pictured for the first time carrying out an official public engagement since the funeral of her beloved husband Prince Philip.

Her Majesty, 95, smiled as she held virtual audiences at Windsor Castle via video-link on Tuesday afternoon.

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It is the first time she has been pictured undertaking her royal duties since Philip, 99, died peacefully at the Berkshire royal residence on April 9.

The Queen, no longer in a black mourning outfit, was dressed in a pale blue floral dress which featured large purple, white and yellow flowers, with a three-string pearl necklace and a diamond brooch as accessories.

She was pictured on a computer screen smiling as she held two audiences with the ambassador from the Republic of Latvia, and the ambassador from the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire, who were at Buckingham Palace.

It comes after her two week period of royal mourning for Prince Philip ended on Friday, meaning the Windsors can now go back to work full-time.

The Royal Family gathered for a poignant final farewell to Philip on April 17 at a socially-distanced funeral service in St George's Chapel, with the Queen pictured sat alone as she grieved for her consort.

The monarch – who is the nation's longest-reigning monarch – was back at work just four days after Philip's death.

She held her first in-person event on April 13 – an audience and investiture with Earl Peel, who was relinquishing his role as Lord Chamberlain.

A day later she welcomed her new Lord Chamberlain, Baron Parker, who was overseeing Philip's funeral, at another Windsor ceremony.

She was not photographed at these two events.

Although the Queen was not seen out and about in public, Buckingham Palace considers audiences official public engagements because they are listed in the court circular.

ROYAL 'STEP BACK'

It is thought Her Majesty will step back from royal engagements going forward, with former BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt suggesting Prince Charles is likely to take on a bigger role as time goes on.

Mr Hunt told the New York Times: “Fundamentally, the Queen will fade away gracefully.

“Covid has helped in the sense that it has accelerated what any sensible 95-year-old woman would want to do, which is not stand on your feet all day long.”

Prince Charles is now designated as the monarch’s official “consort” – and is set to accompany his mother to the State Opening of Parliament on May 11. 

Charles, 72 — who discussed the future with his father in hospital in the weeks before he died — will shoulder a greater burden of major royal duties before eventually taking over as King.

A Lords source told The Sun: “It is a clear signal that the Queen does not want the crown to skip a generation and that Prince Charles will start taking on an even bigger role in royal life.”

The Queen turned 95 just 12 days after the duke died and used her birthday to release a message thanking well-wishers for their tribute to Philip.

She said she and her family were in a "period of great sadness" but were comforted by words of praise for the duke.

"We have been deeply touched and continue to be reminded that Philip had such an extraordinary impact on countless people throughout his life," she added.

Ivita Burmistre, ambassador from the Republic of Latvia, presented the Letters of Recall of her predecessor and her own Letters of Credence at the audience, as did Sara Affoue Amani, ambassador from the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire.


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